Why adults read young adult and kids' literature

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Washington, Sep 26 (ANI): A Kansas State University professor has said that it should come as no surprise that more recent young adult and children's literature such as Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" and Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" - are also popular with adults.

"Children's literature is literature," Philip Nel Kansas State University professor of English and director of the children's literature graduate program said.

"It may be written for people with less height and less vocabulary, but it's still literature."

The phenomenon of adults reading literature targeted toward younger readers is nothing new, Nel said. He pointed to Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which were read by both children and adults when the books were published in the late 19th century.

"Adults will read a book even if it's boring after the first 50 pages if the reviews say it's a good book. I don't think children will. I don't think they should either," Nel said.

Nel said this demanding characteristic of younger readers helps authors create some of the appealing qualities of young adult and children's literature: attention to narrative, a powerful story, a sense of wonder, efficient story-telling and developed and credible characters.

"I think in some ways literature for children can bring adults back to the pleasures of reading, because literature for children is much more connected to and invested in the pleasure of reading," Nel said.

It's more than just a marketing tactic that makes young adult literature so popular. It's the talent of authors, such as J.K. Rowling, Lewis Carroll and L.M. Montgomery, to create a good story told well, Nel said, who added he thinks it's silly for people to express surprise at the popularity of young adult books among adults.

"It's not the 'dumbing-down' of America," Nel said. "Children's literature is always read by adults. They write it, edit it, market it, sell the manuscript for it. Children's literature is universal. (ANI)

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